We’ve had several conversations with our suppliers over the last few weeks regarding re-opening hotels in the near future (just seen today about Hilton Hotel in BerIin reopening) and we wanted to explore in a little more detail what meetings and events could look like post lockdown.
At DeSouza Associates, we guess that at the present time no one (not even the virology experts that we have worked with over the last 20 years or so) knows exactly what events will look like in the short to medium future but we can all surmise that will be different. Our gut feeling is that some events may return late autumn, more likely in 2021 though. If meetings and events along with larger gatherings are allowed to take place too soon then we will inevitably end up in a relapse situation. There is a view that events above 50 people will take a while to get back on the agenda.
What Will Meetings & Events Look Like?
Surely, there will have to be a number of factors to consider from the health and safety perspective.
From the research that we have done, these would seem to encompass, but will not be limited to, the following: social distancing, disinfection, thermal screening (?), handling those who show symptoms, etc. We’ll discuss some of these in a little more detail.
Social distancing – we’ll all been very used to this phrase since lockdown (stay at least 2 metres from others, no group gatherings outside your household, stay out of crowded places etc) but what will it actually mean during events?
One of the first things to be reconsidered will have to be the room layout. Surely, we will need to have 6 feet between chairs and people will have to be organised in such a way that people can get to their places in an orderly manner. On a webinar last week, we saw some examples of large conference hotels recalculating their maximum capacities, based on the 2m rule, so classroom set-up with one person per desk and 2 metres between rows.
For interest, a Shangri-La spokesperson shared this with me regarding their return from lockdown in China: “As business gradually resumes in Mainland China, people would like to dine out and there is a need for meetings and conferences. In line with local authorities’ recommendations, we have provided tailor made MICE services and implemented social distancing guidelines. These measures include a separate table for each guest, contactless self-service coffee breaks and individual meal set with disposable cutlery for every meeting attendee or bento meal box. Guest will also be required to complete a health declaration form for contact tracing.”
These are only some of the considerations for taking care of those who may get sick at your event.
We will return to his topic very soon and will review progress.